Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #4

From Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook:
Week #4: Take a genealogy day trip and blog about it. Discover the local history and genealogy in your area. Take a trip to a cemetery or other historic location. Describe the day, what you learned, where you went, how it looked, how it sounded. Armchair genealogists will love the mini travelogue.

Well, I haven't taken a trip lately. The last major genealogy trip that I took was in August 2007. It was a visit family/genealogy trip to Port Huron, Michigan. My mother, Pamela Sue Pemberton, grew up in Port Huron. She met my dad, Michael David Trahan, in 1977 when he was stationed there on the USCGC Bramble in the U.S. Coast Guard.
They married in 1977 in Port Huron, but they moved about 1979 to Vinton, Louisiana, where my dad grew up. Because I've always been distanced from those Michigan records, I always try to make a research trip out of my family visits. It's quite convenient, actually, because my cousin and my aunt both work right next door to the courthouse and library.

I started my first day of research in the St. Clair County Public Library in Port Huron. I mostly spent my time looking at newspaper articles and obituaries. The library has The Times Herald going back to 1872 and quite a few other newspapers from the surrounding communities. I had a list of obituaries to look up and got right to work. In the obituary of my great-grandaunt, Madeleine Marion (Pemberton) Carnahan, who died in 1961, there was a reference to two previously deceased children who died in a fire in 1952. I remembered about a year or so before, I had asked my grandmother why Aunt Madeleine's family had moved from Michigan to California. She said that she didn't know, but she remembered that they moved after their house caught on fire. However, my grandmother could not remember when their house caught on fire. From the year given in the obituary, I went to the St. Clair County Courthouse that afternoon, and found the death records of two Carnahan children who died within 8 days of one another in April 1952. From there, I was able to find the newspaper articles on the fire. It amazed me how the community came together to raise money to help the family build a new house and pay for medical expenses.

I love the state of Michigan because all marriage and death records are open to the public. None of that crazy paranoia about identity theft. Anyhow, there is a genealogy room at the county clerk's office. All you have to do is tell the deputy clerk at the front desk that you want to do genealogy research, and she will take you to the genealogy room with all the death, marriage, and some divorce records. She will also retrieve birth records for you, provided the records are over 100 years old. The staff is very friendly and will take the time to describe the records to you if you have never been there before. I had a list of the records I wanted prior to going there, but of course, I also found some while browsing. I mostly spent my time there transcribing marriage records after 1925 and death records after 1904. The records prior to these years are available on FHL microfilm, which I can borrow at my local Family History Center, so I did not want to waste time with the older records. My most exciting find at the courthouse was the confirmation of my potential 4th-great-grandmother's maiden name: Jermyn. From census records, I had a hunch that my 4th-great-grandparents were Jeremiah Pemberton and Susanna. According to census records, they had immigrated from Canada to Michigan. A fellow researcher had found an online transcription of a marriage in 1836 in Toronto for Jeremiah Pemberton and Susannah Jermyn. This was about the correct time frame, considering my great-great-great-grandfather, John Pemberton, appeared to be their oldest son and was born around 1839. At the courthouse, I found death records of two of their children that both stated Susanna's maiden name was Jermyn/German. So I had solved at least part of the mystery. All that was left was to confirm that Susanna really was my 4th-great-grandmother, though this did not come until months later when ordering John Pemberton's pension application from the National Archives.

I also visited Omard Cemetery, Elk Township Cemetery, and Zion Cemetery in Sanilac County, Michigan, just north of Port Huron, and found the graves of three great-grandparents, my great-aunt that died as a child, my great-great-grandparents, and my potential great-great-great-grandparents.

This is the photo of the grave of my great-aunt who died well before I was born in 1948. I find it odd that she died just one day before her birthday and that her birthday was on Feb. 29. There was actually a Feb. 29 in 1948, so that would have been really strange had she died on her birthday. According to her death record, she died of adema of the lungs and continuous epileptic seizures.

Well, that was my research trip in a nutshell. I really look forward to the day when I retire and can have a summer house in Port Huron.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Tribute to My Grandmother: Violet Mae (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard AKA Mimi

I've decided to write about my maternal grandmother, Violet, or Mimi, as I called her, who recently died on December 15, 2008. This pic is one she and I took around 2003 for the membership directory of Welsh Memorial United Methodist Church in Vinton, Calcasieu, Louisiana.

Violet Mae Currie was born on 24 Oct 1930 in Flynn Township, Sanilac County, Michigan. Her parents were Archibald "Archie" Currie (1889-1963) and Jennie "Jean" Grace Christina (Plaine) Currie (1903-1937). [1] She was named after her mother's older sister, Voylet Elmyra Plaine.

Violet had two older siblings, a brother, Howard Archibald Currie, born in 1925, and a sister,
Helen Floretta Currie, born in 1927 [2,3]. Both died when they were very young. I seem to recall my grandmother saying that one of them died shortly after she was born in 1930, but I can't remember which one. Nonetheless, neither of them are listed in the 1930 U.S. Census with Jennie and Archie, so it is likely both died before 1930 [4]. I need to add the search for their death records to my to-do list.

Violet's mother, Jennie, died of a heart attack
when Violet was only 7 years old on Christmas Eve in 1937 [5].

Archie never remarried, and Violet grew up as an only child on the family farm outside Marlette, Michigan. Below is a picture of Violet with her friend, Margaret Mahaffy, about 1935, outside the family home. Violet is the blonde on the left.

Violet graduated from Marlette Township High School in 1948 [6].

On 9 Sep 1949, Violet married John Peter Pemberton, son of John "Jack" Vital Pemberton and Mabel Ellen Crysler. [7,8] They were married at the First Methodist Church in Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michgan. [8] Violet met John when he was home on leave from the military.

John and Violet had 8 children between the years of 1950 to 1960. [9]

1) John Michael Pemberton
b. 1950
2) Deborah Darlene Pemberton b. 1952
3) George Albert Pemberton b. 1954
4) Stephen Andrew Pemberton b. 1955
5) Brian James Pemberton b. 1957

6) Mark Anthony Pemberton b. 1959

7) Pamela Sue Pemberton b. 1959
8) Gloria ViAnn Pemberton b. 1960

The family lived at 1828 Stone Street in Port Huron from 1956 to about 1973. [10] When they first married in 1949, John worked on the assembly line at Chrysler [7]. He then began work as a fireman for the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1950 and was promoted to engineer in 1955. [11] He remained with the railroad as an engineer until his early death from lung cancer in 1970. [12] Violet worked at the Prestolite plant, from which she retired in the early 1970s. [13] It was at the Prestolite plant that Violet met the true love of her life and second husband, Clifford Robert Drouillard, or "Pippi," as some of us grandchildren call him. [13] They married in Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois on 22 May 1972. [14]

Clifford had four children from a prior marriage: Veronica Marlen Drouillard (b. 1956), Gloria Joy Drouillard (b. 1957), Clifford Carl Drouillard (b. 1960), and Rose Marie Drouillard (b. 1964). It was kind of like the Brady Bunch, except with a lot more children...LOL!

This is my favorite picture of Mimi and Pippi. It was taken on 15 Oct 1977 at my parents' wedding at the First Church of the Nazarene in Port Huron. About four years later, about 1981 or so, my grandparents moved from Port Huron down to Vinton, Calcasieu, Louisiana, where my parents had since moved.

This picture was taken about 2007 or early 2008 in the front yard of Mimi and Pippi's house in Vinton, Calcasieu, Louisiana. On the left is my mother, Pamela Sue (Pemberton) Trahan. One of Mimi's favorite things was being a crossing guard. She worked as a school crossing guard near Vinton Elementary School from about 1993 until she died in 2008. [15] All the kids loved her.

Overall, Mimi was a kind, loving, and compassionate person. She was always willing to listen to me. I can remember talking to her about boys and friends and all the other problems teenagers have when I was younger. She was always so excited about my interest in genealogy and family history because she did not know a lot of her extended family. After her mom died, she gradually saw less and less of her maternal aunts and uncles, as they all lived in Canada, and her father was not very close to his siblings. She never even knew her paternal grandparents because they died before she was born, and her maternal grandparents died when she was very young. When I asked her once why she had so many children, she said it was because it was very lonely growing up on a farm as an only child, so she had always wanted to have a large family. She got what she wished for because she always had children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren visiting. She never went a day without family visitors.

Birthdays were also very important to her because she said that she and her dad did not really celebrate her birthday very much when she was a child. When my fiance and I were picking a date for our fall wedding, she suggested her birthday, as it happens to fall on a Saturday in 2009. Some of my family members have asked if we are sure we still want to get married then, but we know that it would be very important to her for us to get married that day. In one of the last conversations I had with her around October 2008, she mentioned how excited she was that we were getting married on her birthday. So, Mimi, we will be celebrating your birthday with a huge celebration this year! We love you!

Violet Mae Currie, senior picture, abt 1948


[1] Sanilac County, Michigan, birth certificate no. 13-2590 (1930), Violet Mae Currie; County Clerk, Sandusky; supplied by Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard, Vinton, Louisiana.

[2] Michigan Department of Health, birth registration no. 74-3476 (1925), Howard Archibald Currie; Vital Records Office, Lansing; privately held by author. Inherited in 2008 from author's grandmother, Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard, sister of Howard Archibald Currie.

[3] Michigan Department of Health, birth registration no. 74-4519 (1927), Helen Floretta Currie; Vital Records Office, Lansing; privately held by author. Inherited in 2008 from author's grandmother, Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard, sister of Helen Floretta Currie.

[4] 1930 U.S. census, Sanilac County, Michigan, population schedule, township of Flynn, enumeration district (ED) 15, sheet 3B, dwelling 67, family 67, Archie Curry household; digital images, ( : accessed 30 Jan 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1028.

[5] Sanilac County, Michigan, death certificate no. 892 (1937), Jennie Currie; County Clerk, Sandusky; Pemberton/Currie/Drouillard family papers; supplied by Jennie's daughter, Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard, Vinton, LA.

[6] Violet Mae Currie high school diploma, Marlette Township High School, Sanilac County, Michigan, May 1948, Pemberton/Currie/Drouillard family papers; privately held by author. Inherited in 2008 from author's grandmother, Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard.

[7] St. Clair County, Michigan, marriage certificate no. 8-99 (1949), Pemberton-Currie; County Clerk, Port Huron.

[8] The Methodist Church, marriage certificate, 9 Sep 1949, First Methodist Church, Port Huron, Michigan, John Peter Pemberton and Violet Mae Currie. Issued by Rev. William C.S. Pellorne, D.D., Pemberton/Currie/Drouillard Family Papers; privately held by author. Inherited in 2008 from author's grandmother, Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard.

[9] Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard (Vinton, Louisiana), interview by author, about 1995; no transcript; all information recorded on family group sheets and transferred to computerized family file.

[10] Backus to Pemberton, land contract, 22 September 1956, Pemberton/Currie/Drouillard Family Papers; supplied by Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard, Vinton, Louisiana. Violet was a party to the contract.

[11] Engineman's Certificate of Qualification, no. 6562 (1956), John P. Pemberton, Mechanical Department, Canadian National Railways, Pemberton/Currie/Drouillard Family Papers; supplied by Violet (Currie) Pemberton Drouillard, Vinton, Louisiana. Violet was the wife of John.

[12] "John P. Pemberton," obituary, memorial copy, from Times Herald (Port Huron, Michigan), 13 Oct 1970, Trahan/Pemberton Family Papers; supplied by Michael and Pamela (Pemberton) Trahan, Vinton, Louisiana. Pamela is the daughter of John.

[13] Clifford Robert Drouillard (Vinton, Louisiana), conversation with author, Dec 2008.

[14] Winnebago County, Illinois, marriage certificate no. 876 (1972), Drouillard-Pemberton; County Clerk, Rockford.

[15] "Violet Mae Drouillard," obituary, Times Herald (Port Huron, Michigan), 17 Dec 2008, online archives ( : accessed 20 Dec 2008).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

General To-Do List

The purpose of this post is to re-visit my general to-do list, which I compiled a few months ago in a Word document. I think this will help me get my priorities in order, as discussed in my previous post. Here is what I had compiled, with my updated comments in red italics:

  1. Conform all sources in Legacy to the SourceWriter. As mentioned in the previous post, Legacy added a new SourceWriter system for entering sources about a year after I started using the program. This new system is very neat because it spits out your source citations on family group sheets and other reports in the same format as Elizabeth Shown Mills suggests in Evidence Explained. There are a few flaws in the system with some of the templates or with some templates missing, but overall it is very helpful in that it ensures completeness and consistency in source citations. I was converting all my sources by going down my master source list, choosing the next source in the list, finding all the individuals in my database with citations from that source, and then converting those citations to SourceWriter. However, I now find it more meaningful to start with a nuclear family first and then convert the source citations for each individual in that family. I number the people in my database based on ahnentafel and Henry numbering systems. I am #1, my sister is 1.2, my brother is 1.3 (I am the oldest), my father is 2, my mother is 3, my paternal grandfather is 4, etc. To convert sources by family, I've decided to start with my sister's family first (I am not yet married), since she is 1.2. I will then go to her spouse's (#1.2s) parents, who are 1.2s:2 and 1.2s:3. I think I have all of his great-grandparents and some of his great-great grandparents in the database, so once I finish with all those 1.2s's I will move onto my parents' nuclear family, who are number 2 and number 3. I will then move onto the nuclear family of my dad's younger brother, who is 2.2. I think you get the picture.

  1. Fix source citations, if necessary (i.e. delete alt. birth event if source citation is child’s census record and alt birth place is same as birth place…make comment that source confirms birth place only). As stated, I am mostly trying to clean up my events list for individuals. When I first started using Legacy, if a census record of a child stated his father's birthplace was Michigan, then I would create a separate event for his father called alternate birth that gave his father's alternate birthplace as Michigan. Even if his father's birthplace in the birthplace field on the individual information screen was Michigan or Mount Clemens, Macomb, Michigan, I would still create a separate event and call it alternate birth. I guess at the time my mind did not lke the idea of citing a source that gave birthplace only in the birth field on the assigned sources screen for an invdividual. Legacy does not allow you to distinguish between a source for birthdate and a source for birthplace. There are not two separate fields for birthdate and birthplace on the assigned sources listing for an individual. There is just one field called "Birth." I also did not like citing a source that gave birth state only and not the exact birth city named in the birthplace field on the individual information screen. The only problem with separating the events like this is that in reports, such as a descendant book, when I wanted to include events, the sentence would read "John has an alternate birthplace of Michigan." Well, this sounds kind of silly when in the paragraph above it says that John was born in Mount Clemens, Macomb, Michigan. So then I decided just to delete those events where alternate birth event contains at least the same state as the birthplace field on the individual information screen (note: although there are two separate fields for birthdate and birthplace on the individual information screen, there are not two separate fields on the assigned sources screen). I will move those sources (mainly census records) to the birth field on the assigned sources screen and put a note in the comments box on the source detail screen for each particular source that it is only a source for the birthplace and not birthdate and/or only birth state and not birth city. Again, I am doing this as I move through families, as in #1 above.

  1. Add comments to other citations, if necessary (i.e. if source confirms birth place but not birth date, add comment that it confirms birth place only). This is essentially the same as #2, except that I am adding comments for other sources for which I apparently did not mind citing in the birth field even though they may have only been a source for birthplace. Therefore, they are already in the right place on the assigned sources screen, and I don't need to delete any alternate birth events. I just need to add the necessary comments on the source detail screens. Funny how my mind works one way for some sources and a different way for others. Again, I am going family by family.

  1. Add source citations to relationships to father and mother. Apparently, Legacy has the option in the assigned sources screen for an individual to cite a source for his relationship to his mother and to his father. I didn't realize this until I'd been using it about 6 months. Unfortunately, there are some bugs in the program that do not allow these relationships to show correctly on some reports, but I still want to input this info b/c I am hoping that one day this problem will be fixed. Again, I am going family by family.

  1. Add text to source citations, when necessary. I always debate whether to add the text from a source, especially when I have an image attached to the source. On the one hand, it seems silly to type the text from the source when there is already an image attached. However, on the other hand, transcribing a source can help in analysis of the source and alert one to possible leads or incorrect information that would otherwise be overlooked by just reading a document. Also, when converting to GEDCOM for sharing with others, images do not convert. However, transcribed text will convert. So, therefore, I have decided to add text to source citations in my database, going family by family.

  1. Create Witness Event for witnesses to marriage licenses, deeds, and probate records. I've decided that I like the witness event I encountered while playing around with the 30-day free trial for The Master Genealogist. Since Legacy is flexible enough to add events, I decided to add a witness event. As I go family by family, I"m looking for source citations, such as marriage records, that include witnesses. I'm also adding events such as "groomsman" or "bridesmaid" because I have quite a few newspaper announcements for my maternal aunts' and uncles' weddings, listing siblings and cousins as wedding party participants. I'm going back and using the "God Mother" and "God Father" events that were already a part of Legacy, which I didn't realize until later.

  1. Complete research reports and proof summaries for direct ancestors. This has probably been the hardest task of all on this list. I got the idea for research reports and proof summaries from the the BCG's Genealogical Standards Manual. Basically, research reports center around a focus, such as the parentage of John Doe. They begin with a summary of known informaiton about John Doe with the appropriate source citations and a to-do list for further researching his parentage. Once the to-do list is complete, a summary of findings is written, and finally an itemized findings section is written. The itemized section discusses in more detail than the summary each source consulted on the to-do list. If necessary, suggestions for further research are then compiled in an additional to-do list, and the whole cycle starts over again. Proof summaries, on the other hand, are much shorter and do not contain all research and analysis. Their purpose is to record a convincing account of the evidence on which a conclusion is based. Although my to-do list item says to do this only for direct line ancestors, I've been doing some reports for my sister and her spouse's direct line ancestors. For my sister, however, I did not really do a research report since I did not do any research on her, per se. I just did a proof summary in cover-sheet list format, focusing on her parentage, listing her birth record, baptismal record, marriage certificate, etc. All of these items mention her parents. In the proof summary, the source is cited and then all relevant transcribed text is below the source citation. For her husband's paternal grandparents, I created a report with sections for proof of birth date and place, proof of death date and place, proof of marriage date and place, and proof of parentage. Again, the source is cited and all relevant transcribed text is given below the citation. I also added any necessary analysis below each section if the sources seem to contradict one another or do not seem to agree. These sound like proof summaries, and for the most part they are, but I think they have more analysis than a normal proof summary, and in the end, I put a section on further ideas for research. So it seems that I've kind of combined the idea of a research report and a proof summary. Of course, with my sister's husband's ancestors, I am not particularly interested in doing really in depth research beyond vital records and census records. I am mainly just trying to provide a starting point in case any of her future children inherited my genealogy genes. Maybe when I move up the family tree I will decide to break out the research report and proof summary for my ancestors whom I've done a lot more research on, some being negative search results. I guess time will tell.

  1. Create ancestor tables for all lines in file. I have not yet begun this, as it requires going outside of Legacy to create the tables. I got the ideas for tables from William Dollarhide's Managing a Genealogical Project. They are somewhat like pedigrees, but much easier to read and understand. Dollarhide provides a blank copy in the appendix of his book, but I was thinking of keeping these electronically by creating a format in Excel. We'll have to see...

  1. Create portable files for each married couple in database. Include research reports and proof summaries, family group sheets, ancestor tables, and copies of source documents in files. Ok, so here is where I promised in the previous post to discuss my filing system. I got the idea from Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, who is the idea behind Clooz and owner of Ancestor Detective, to file all birth records together, all marriage records together, all census records together, etc. with no regard to family name. This solves the problem of whether to file a document containing more than one family name (such as a census record) in one family file or the other. This works perfectly fine, except when it's tme to study a particular family on a particular research trip. I also decided that I needed two separate sets of files anyhow: those that travel and those that never ever leave home. This will help prevent precious items from getting lost. Kind of like a physical backup system. Therefore, I decided to use the couple filing system to take with me when I'm traveling or even to use at home when doing new research on a particular family. As I go through my Legacy database, family by family as explained earlier, I have been creating folders for each couple. If the source document was created before the couple's marriage, such as a birth certificate for the wife, I file the source document in the wife's parents' couple folder. If it's the wife's marriage or death record, this would go in her couple folder. I prefer file folders b/c they are much easier to lug around on research trips than binders. Of course, I still have some families' records filed in a surname folder without regard to couples. I used to just create one folder for everyone with that surname. This was before I started that permanent system of filing all birth records together, all death records together, etc. These are mostly the families that I have not yet entered into Legacy. As I get them into Legacy, I will refile their documents according to type in my permanent files that never leave home, and according to couple in my portable files. But I guess for now, at least they are all filed and not still sitting in shopping bags or in piles on the kitchen table. Even if they are on two different filing systems temporarily. I can honestly say that I only have about 10 or so documents sitting in a pile on my printer right now waiting to be scanned, entered into Legacy, and filed. This is only b/c I've inherited so many documents in the last month since my grandmother died. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have any. Oh, and I've also decided to include maps of where my ancestors lived in these portable folders.

  1. Finish entering records into Clooz. For those of you who don't know, Clooz is an electronic filing system. I started using it in conjunction with my Legacy database about a year ago, but since I've upgraded to a new Legacy version, my old database no longer works with Clooz. This saddened me very much, as I did not archive my old Clooz file before upgrading. Now I have to start over. The only good thing is that I didn't happen to get much entered into Clooz before this happened. Maybe only 20 or so marriage records and 10 baptism records. As I go through each family in Legacy, I'm going to enter their source documents into Clooz. The only complaint I have about Clooz is some of the formats used for various records and the formats for some of the reports. But I think I can work around those problems. You can keep track of documents in Legacy, but Clooz is document-based and much easier to pull document-based reports from than Legacy. For instance, in Legacy, I cannot run a report that shows all sources attached to John Doe. I can see them on the screen in his assigned sources screen, but I cannot print this list. The only source citation report in Legacy revolves around selecting a master source and all source citations of this master source. I like Clooz because I can pick John Doe and run a report which shows all sources attached to him. Then I can see if I've missed looking him up in a census record because this report will also show his birth and death date. Clooz also allows the attachment of documents to unrelated individuals mentioned, such as the officiant of a marriage. This helps to see if the family used the same officiant over and over, which may suggest religious affiliation or church membership.

  1. Finish transcribing John Pemberton pension app. This is going to be quite a project b/c his pension app is over 100 pages. This is my great-great-great-grandfather who fought for the Union in the Civil War. To make a long story short, he fell off a train on his way back to Ohio from being held prisoner in Virginia. He tried to get a pension based on injuries received from the fall. But he continued to be rejected again and again due to lack of proof of medical care by a military physician. On one hand, I feel bad for the guy that he kept getting rejected, but this resulted in a 20 page deposition by him and 1-2 page depositions by his mother, sisters, and brother-in-laws about his character, experiences during the War, experiences growing up, etc. It's a genealogical gold mine, so I guess it was good in a way that he kept getting rejected. Every time I tell a family member about this story, their eyes light up b/c it's so interesting, so it's really important that I get this file transcribed, especially his deposition.

  1. Input data from John Pemberton compiled service records. I ordered this after the pension record noted above. Good thing I did, b/c it provided an alternate birthplace from the one mentioned in John's obituary. I'm thinking this one may be more accurate since he was likely the one giving the information for his service record. One of his children or his wife likely gave the information for the obituary. But anyhow, I need to get the info into Legacy. I didn't receive the info until after I had moved past John in my original entries in Legacy, so I need to go back and add this.

  1. Figure out a way to show the exact name on the document. Create event? Use AKA? Put in notes for source? I think this has been solved. Legacy allows a source for names, but I don't like to provide sources for names. This is because when you print a book, such as a descendant narrative, a long string of numbers will appear by the names referring to footnote sorce citations. If you've ever noticed, in formal genealogy publications, you never cite sources for names in articles. So I decided to create an event called Name on Record. I then enter the name exactly as it appears on the record. This is because I don't like putting women's married names as AKAs, and I don't like putting misspellings or variant spellings as AKAs. It just bothers me for some reason. Therefore, I rarely use the AKA field unless someone usually goes by another name, such as my aunt Deborah, who goes by Debbie. And again, I am going family by family.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why I Started This Blog

Now that you know a little of how I got started in genealogy, you may be wondering why I've started this blog. As mentioned in a previous post, with my recent 2-month break from genealogy due to interests in my iPod Nano and Netflix subscription, I am hoping this blog will help me re-think my approach to my genealogy studies and help sort out my priorities. I decided to take a short break from genealogy because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, so I joined Netflix in November, just before Thanksgiving. I probably would have gone back to genealogy sooner, but my maternal grandmother passed away on December 15, and then I got sick on December 18. I remained sick throughout the first 2 weeks of the new year. And on top of all of that, my wonderful fiance, Cade, bought me an iPod Nano for Christmas. Funnily enough, the main reason I wanted an iPod Nano was to download genealogy podcasts and listen to them while exercising, but now I've got 1500 songs and only 3 podcasts. Go figure. Also, funnily enough, I have not started exercising. Go figure again. Anyhow, the main reason I was feeling overhwelmed back in November was because while I enjoy genealogy, it does require analysis of details and organization of findings. As an accountant, I do a great deal of that all day long, so sometimes I need the occasional music or movie break, hence the iPod and Netflix. I was also feeling overwhelmed because for years, especially when I was younger (like 12-22 years old), I did not cite sources nor did I organize my papers very well. I just had all my papers (vital records, census records, website printouts) in 2 large shopping bags, since I didn't have a kitchen table or desk. About five years ago, I bought a two-drawer filing cabinet and finally decided to create folders for each surname and place my papers in those folders. However, in the last year or so, I've decided to take on a different filing system, which I will discuss more in a later post. I also switched from Family Tree Maker (FTM) to Legacy Family Tree. In the process, I opted not to just copy over my FTM database due to the lack of sources and such in my FTM database. I decided that my new database in Legacy would be a more "perfect" one. I've been re-entering information on my maternal grandfather's side of the family for the last year or so, adding the proper sources and research notes. Of course, nothing is perfect the first time around, and I've been going back through my Legacy database now that I have all known ancestors for my maternal grandfather entered and have been adding various pieces of information to individuals and sources in that database. With the publishing of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, I've also been going back through my Legacy database and double checking my sources for consistency, accuracy, and completeness. When I first began using Legacy in September 2007, it used a basic source system, but has since converted to a SourceWriter system, which contains templates based on Evidence Explained styles. So, I've had to convert quite a few sources within Legacy to the new system in order to keep source citations of the same type consistent. I'm still not finished with that yet. So, whew! Hopefully, you now have a better idea of why I'm so overwhelmed with my genealogy project.

My Genealogy Beginnings

I am a 27-year-old accountant by day and avid genealogist by night (though for the last two months, my new obsessions with downloading music on the iPod I got for Christmas and my new Netflix subscription is taking away from my genealogy time). I've been studying my family history really since I was about 6 years old and first learned how to read and write. I can remember writing down every single one of my 24 first cousins' names on my mom's side and then asking my maternal grandmother for their birth dates, which I would write next to their names. I did this just about over and over when I visited my grandmother, therefore remembering all full names and birth dates by the time I was 7 years old or so. My grandmother would be so proud and since most of my cousins, aunts, and uncles lived in Michigan, she would bring one of my sheets up there to show off to everyone when she visited in the summers. Fast forward about 6 years to when I was about 12 years old. I was a little rebellious, and my paternal grandmother (my other grandmother) could tell I needed a hobby to keep me interested in something. I was always asking her questions about her parents and grandparents, so she suggested we start a project together researching our family history. I believe this was the summer after 6th grade, or maybe the summer after 7th grade, 1993 or 1994. We took a trip to the local genealogy library in Lake Charles, Louisiana, when they had a beginner's workshop, and the rest is history. And by the way, if anyone is curious why I didn't also make lists of my paternal first cousins, it's mostly because there are only four of them, so it was easy enough to keep that information in my head. Don't worry...I now have that info stored in my genealogy management software, Legacy Family Tree.